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MENS BASKETBALL


Baylor 82, Kansas 74

Baylor 82, Kansas 74

STEPHEN HAWKINS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WACO, Texas - RayJ Dennis and Jayden Nunn shot perfectly in the second half for No. 15 Baylor, and both were right in the middle of a game-turning run to beat seventh-ranked Kansas.

Nunn had consecutive fastbreak layups 25 seconds apart to ignite that deciding spurt, when Dennis had three of his 10 assists, and the Bears opened March with an 82-74 victory on Saturday, handing the Jayhawks consecutive losses for the first time this season.

“Once we got a couple of stops, we were able to push it in transition,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

“As far as the second half, I think we found something as far as like playing fast and playing in transition,” Dennis said. “So that was kind of a focus. Like, if we get stops, let’s run, because we’re tough getting downhill.”

Dennis had his third double-double of the season. He had 19 points, 14 of those after halftime when making all five of his field goals, primarily runners. Nunn finished with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, hitting all four of his shots in the second half.

Yves Missi added 17 points and fellow freshman Ja’Kobe Walter had 11 for the Bears (21-8, 10-6 Big 12).

Big 12 scoring leader Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickinson each had 20 points for the Jayhawks (21-8, 9-7), who were coming off a 76-68 loss at home to Big 12 newcomer BYU. Dajuan Harris had 12 points and nine assists.

Nunn first drove the length of the court with 13:49 left after grabbing a defensive rebound. Then after 7-foot freshman Missi blocked a Kansas shot, Dennis passed ahead to a breaking Nunn for another layup. That was in a 13-2 run, stretching Baylor’s lead from one to 12 with 10 minutes left.

“We obviously just had a bad stretch,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “When you’re playing a good team on the road, you can’t afford to have a four-minute bad stretch like that.”

McCullar was back in the lineup after missing four of the previous five games with a bone bruise in his knee.

“Felt good,” McCullar said. “Just blessed to be back out with my brothers.”

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: This is the first time the Jayhawks have had seven conference losses in Self’s 21 seasons. They can still extend their record stretch of winning conference records to 35 seasons in a row by taking one of the next two games.

Baylor: The Bears are a national-best 32-15 against AP Top 25 opponents the past five seasons, and have won 13 of their last 18 against top 10 teams.

BEFORE THE BREAK

A 3-pointer by Dennis put Baylor up 31-24 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half. They needed his jumper with 28 seconds left to lead 34-33. Kansas had a 10-2 run between those baskets. Harris had two nifty assists, one a give-and-go break after a steal by McCullar, and made the go-ahead floater.

BIG INSIDE

The Jayhawks scored 46 points in the paint. That included an emphatic two-handed dunk by Dickinson with just under six minutes left in the first half. He scored their first six points, including consecutive passes from Adams for a dunk and a layup.

Missi opened the scoring with a powerful dunk even with Adams’ hands in his face, then did a spin move around Dickinson for a layup for Baylor’s second basket.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Baylor athletics press release

March 2, 2024





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